Evidence does not suggest that vitamin D inhibits the production of DHT, otherwise known as dihydrotestosterone. Dihydrotestosterone is a derivative of testosterone. It’s most often associated with androgenic alopecia, or pattern baldness. High levels of DHT can cause hair loss in any follicle sensitive to this hormone. Another form of treatment is necessary to prevent and treat the progression of hair loss, because vitamin D won't help. Talk to your doctor before taking vitamin D — or any other supplement — to treat this condition.
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Dihydrotestosterone is a by-product of testosterone. According to the American Hair Loss Association, it forms when testosterone comes into contact with type II 5-alpha-reductase, an enzyme in the oil glands of hair follicles. Dihydrotestosterone can cause the miniaturization of hormone-receptive hair follicles, particularly from prolonged exposure. As the follicles shrink in size, the circumference of the hair thins until the follicle no longer produces hair, leading to baldness.
While vitamin D is essential to your overall health, it doesn’t appear to play a role in the inhibition of dihydrotestosterone. Vitamin D neither prevents the conversion of testosterone into this hormone nor reduces the amount of type II 5-alpha-reductase in the body. If it did, supplementing the diet with this nutrient could help slow the progression of hair loss. The Office of Dietary Supplements does not list vitamin D as a purported use for inhibiting DHT.
Instead of self-prescribing vitamin D to inhibit dihydrotestosterone, talk to your doctor. Medical professionals can recommend the most appropriate form of treatment. For men, this usually involves finasteride. This prescription medication inhibits the production of type II 5-alpha-reductase, thereby reducing the production of DHT and slowing the progression of hair loss. For women, spironolactone, cimetidine and even hormone replacement therapy can help lower the amount of androgens — or male sex hormones — in the body, which may prove beneficial in inhibiting the production of DHT.
Like other nutrients, supplemental vitamin D can lead to side effects. Some of the more common include excessive thirst, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, poor appetite, weight loss and fatigue. It’s also been linked to bone pain, itchy skin and sore eyes, especially when taken in high doses. Vitamin D can interfere with the efficacy of certain medications as well, including atorvastatin, calcium channel blockers and digoxin. Talk to your doctor before taking vitamin D for any reason.